Quite often when you hear the word ‘legacy’, you picture a mansion and someone with a lot of ‘capital’, but the term ‘legacy giving’ is not just for the super-rich!
Legacy giving encompasses a range of things from any form of financial donation, such as a gift to a charity, to passing down certain keepsakes. However few people realize it can include less monetary assets such as passing down traditions like family recipes that carry a greater personal significance.
Your prized possessions such as a diary, souvenirs from around the world or old home videos could be worth a lot to you and your family, knowing who is entrusted with these can easily be an integral part of your Will. This could also include digital assets, like personal documents, photos, and videos you store on your computer, cloud sharing or even on social media.
I want to dispel the myth that the only thing of value that we leave behind is what is in our bank accounts, but rather, the things that hold intrinsic value; for example, academic achievements like degrees, diplomas, certifications. Even overcoming health scares, like beating cancer, or reaching weight loss goals, these accomplishments should not be minimized but be celebrated and recorded. It may take a while to accrue a legacy, physical or even digital, but that does not mean you can’t start writing down memories, collecting mementos from youth; it is important to know where they all are and whether to insure them.
Is legacy giving a continuation of your life, supporting causes you cared about during your life? How do you see death and what you leave behind? Is it all material or words of advice? Life lessons you want the future generations to remember?
One example of passing on values are Legacy Letters, also known as an ethical will, they are a Jewish tradition of tzava'ot, but are becoming increasingly popular due to their fresh perspective on what constitutes a legacy. Legacy Letters could be an option worth considering, they often have no specific guidelines, they can include sharing memories, practical advice and even direct messages to individuals. It isn't a legal document, but can be used to pass on your values to the next generation and underline what you consider most important.
A study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch/Age Wave surveyed over 3000 adults with 2.600 if them being over the age of 55 and found that an astonishing 69% would most want to be remembered for “the memories I’ve shared with my loved ones.” over 9% who stated “career success” as their ultimate legacy.
Legacy giving isn't just about money, and neither is life, so what do you want to be remembered for?
We at huunuu offer our own ‘Legacy letter’ product called a ‘Spiritual Will’ which you can purchase here
We are also running a workshop based on the theme of commemorating our past, that will focus on the Spiritual Will; full details of the event and the ability to sign up are available here